Museums in a Changing Society: A Casestudy of the Danish Resistance Museum in Copenhagen

Jeanne Dederding & Linn Sørby

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The main subject of this Master Thesis is Experience Economy in a museum perspective. This subject is examined in collaboration with the Danish Resistance Museum, who wishes to enrich the overall experience with the museum before, during and after the visit, for 25-40 year old Zealanders. More specifically, our project examines the following statement: How does the Danish Resistance Museum, through an increased focus on Integrated Communication and Experience Economy, enrich the overall consumer experience with museums, for the 25-40 year old Zealanders? Based on this statement two additional sub questions have been raised: • How do the 25-40 year old Zealanders experience the overall consumer experience with museums? • How can the Danish Resistance Museum, on the basis of a deep understanding achieved from an examination of the consumer, enrich the target group’s consumer experience? The main paradigm in the theory of science is hermeneutics, where the collection of data is gathered by a qualitative method. Here, in-depth interviews have been used, whereupon an iterative methodology has been used to make sense of the collected data. With use of the theory of experience mapping, three phases of museum experiences have arisen; before, during and after a visit to the museum. These three phases have been reviewed by means of the Experience Economy theory and the Postmodern Consumer theory. With support from these theories, it has been clear, that there are some barriers in the overall experience with museums. The barriers in the pre-phase include a negative pre-understanding of museums, and lack of awareness. On the positive note, the target group is interested in museums as a way of fulfilling their need for experiences, in the creation of their own identity. Other needs include knowledge, learning, general education and being socially involved. In the second phase, during the visit, the charge of the admission fee affects the expectations of the quality of the experience. Additionally, the target group finds the museum’s mediation as a vital factor, in terms of the quality and overall experience of the visit. A good mediation includes a thorough common thread, an authentic narrative and being included in the exhibition. The final phase, after the visit, includes insights regarding revisits and recommendations. Here, the target group re-visits a museum experience, if it has some kind of renewal in terms of exhibition, social setting and time passed. The target group only recommends the museum experience to others, if it has a high experienced value. This thesis will concentrate on enriching the pre- and during phases, in order to make the overall experience with the Danish Resistance museum greater. This decision was made due to the limited resources of the Danish Resistance Museum, together with the barriers experienced in the pre-phase of the visit, and the importance of mediation and experienced quality of the museum exhibition. The initiatives to enrich the consumer experience in the pre-phase include the theory of Integrated Communication. In order to stand out from the crowd and to enrich the consumer experience with the Danish Resistance Museum in the pre-phase, the museum needs to build its messages through the theory of Strategic Messaging. Here, the museum should try to distance its reputation from the informative museology to the performative museology. With themed messages communicated through Symbolic Association Style, the target group gets the opportunity to see the museum as modern and innovative. Regarding the media channels that expose these strategic messages, the Danish Resistance Museum ought to use a combination of both off- and online channels to stand out from the crowd. The traditional channels create visibility and awareness, but cannot create value or interact with the target group the same way as untraditional online channels, including social media channels. The online channel prioritized in this thesis is the social media channel, Facebook. Here, the museum needs to create posts and events, where two-way communication and positive word of mouth is possible and probable, through likes, tags, comments, and shares. The initiatives to enrich the consumer experience at the Danish Resistance Museum include designing an experience that comply with the target group’s wishes in regard to museum mediation. Here, the principals and arguments from Pine & Gilmore are utilized. The museum should, on the basis of this, mediate an authentic narrative of the Danish Freedom Fighters without a glorifying filter. Additionally, the museum experience should be themed with a clear storyline that holds the visitor’s hand throughout the experience in the museum. The museum exhibition should activate the target group’s five senses, to reassure intensification of the experience. The design of the museum should include all four Experience realms, as aspects of entertainment, education, esthetic and escapist strengthens the experience and makes it more involving, which fulfills the target group’s need to be a part of the museum. The abovementioned initiatives, which have focused on integrated communications and experience economy, will enrich the overall experience with museums for the 25-40 year old Zealanders.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2016
Number of pages125